Docker vs Docker Compose: What are the differences?
What is Docker? Enterprise Container Platform for High-Velocity Innovation. The Docker Platform is the industry-leading container platform for continuous, high-velocity innovation, enabling organizations to seamlessly build and share any application — from legacy to what comes next — and securely run them anywhere.
What is Docker Compose? Define and run multi-container applications with Docker. With Compose, you define a multi-container application in a single file, then spin your application up in a single command which does everything that needs to be done to get it running.
Docker belongs to "Virtual Machine Platforms & Containers" category of the tech stack, while Docker Compose can be primarily classified under "Container Tools".
"Rapid integration and build up", "Isolation" and "Open source" are the key factors why developers consider Docker; whereas "Multi-container descriptor", "Fast development environment setup" and "Easy linking of containers" are the primary reasons why Docker Compose is favored.
Docker and Docker Compose are both open source tools. It seems that Docker with 54K GitHub stars and 15.6K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Docker Compose with 16.6K GitHub stars and 2.56K GitHub forks.
Spotify, Pinterest, and Twitter are some of the popular companies that use Docker, whereas Docker Compose is used by StackShare, Typeform, and CircleCI. Docker has a broader approval, being mentioned in 3527 company stacks & 3449 developers stacks; compared to Docker Compose, which is listed in 797 company stacks and 627 developer stacks.
What is Docker?
What is Docker Compose?
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On the backend side we started using Docker almost 2 years ago. Looking back, this was absolutely the right decision, as running things manually with so many services and so few engineers wouldn’t have been possible at all.
While in the beginning we used it mostly to ease-up local development, we have since started using it quickly to also run all of our CI & CD pipeline on top of it. This not only enabled us to speed things up drastically locally by using Docker Compose to spin up different services & dependencies and making sure they can talk to each other, but also made sure that we had reliable builds on our build infrastructure and could easily debug problems using the baked images in case anything should go wrong. Using Docker was a slight change in the beginning but we ultimately found that it forces you to think through how your services are composed and structured and thus improves the way you structure your systems.
- Go because it's easy and simple, facilitates collaboration , and also it's fast, scalable, powerful.
- Visual Studio Code because it has one of the most sophisticated Go language support plugins.
- Vim because it's Vim
- Git because it's Git
- Docker and Docker Compose because it's quick and easy to have reproducible builds/tests with them
- @Archlinux (wtf it's not here?!) because Docker for Mac/Win is a disaster for the human's central nervous system, and Arch is the coolest Linux distro so far
Often enough I have to explain my way of going about setting up a CI/CD pipeline with multiple deployment platforms. Since I am a bit tired of yapping the same every single time, I've decided to write it up and share with the world this way, and send people to read it instead ;). I will explain it on "live-example" of how the Rome got built, basing that current methodology exists only of readme.md and wishes of good luck (as it usually is ;)).
It always starts with an app, whatever it may be and reading the readmes available while Vagrant and VirtualBox is installing and updating. Following that is the first hurdle to go over - convert all the instruction/scripts into Ansible playbook(s), and only stopping when doing a clear
vagrant up or
vagrant reload we will have a fully working environment. As our Vagrant environment is now functional, it's time to break it! This is the moment to look for how things can be done better (too rigid/too lose versioning? Sloppy environment setup?) and replace them with the right way to do stuff, one that won't bite us in the backside. This is the point, and the best opportunity, to upcycle the existing way of doing dev environment to produce a proper, production-grade product.
I should probably digress here for a moment and explain why. I firmly believe that the way you deploy production is the same way you should deploy develop, shy of few debugging-friendly setting. This way you avoid the discrepancy between how production work vs how development works, which almost always causes major pains in the back of the neck, and with use of proper tools should mean no more work for the developers. That's why we start with Vagrant as developer boxes should be as easy as
vagrant up, but the meat of our product lies in Ansible which will do meat of the work and can be applied to almost anything: AWS, bare metal, docker, LXC, in open net, behind vpn - you name it.
We must also give proper consideration to monitoring and logging hoovering at this point. My generic answer here is to grab Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Logstash. While for different use cases there may be better solutions, this one is well battle-tested, performs reasonably and is very easy to scale both vertically (within some limits) and horizontally. Logstash rules are easy to write and are well supported in maintenance through Ansible, which as I've mentioned earlier, are at the very core of things, and creating triggers/reports and alerts based on Elastic and Kibana is generally a breeze, including some quite complex aggregations.
If we are happy with the state of the Ansible it's time to move on and put all those roles and playbooks to work. Namely, we need something to manage our CI/CD pipelines. For me, the choice is obvious: TeamCity. It's modern, robust and unlike most of the light-weight alternatives, it's transparent. What I mean by that is that it doesn't tell you how to do things, doesn't limit your ways to deploy, or test, or package for that matter. Instead, it provides a developer-friendly and rich playground for your pipelines. You can do most the same with Jenkins, but it has a quite dated look and feel to it, while also missing some key functionality that must be brought in via plugins (like quality REST API which comes built-in with TeamCity). It also comes with all the common-handy plugins like Slack or Apache Maven integration.
The exact flow between CI and CD varies too greatly from one application to another to describe, so I will outline a few rules that guide me in it: 1. Make build steps as small as possible. This way when something breaks, we know exactly where, without needing to dig and root around. 2. All security credentials besides development environment must be sources from individual Vault instances. Keys to those containers should exist only on the CI/CD box and accessible by a few people (the less the better). This is pretty self-explanatory, as anything besides dev may contain sensitive data and, at times, be public-facing. Because of that appropriate security must be present. TeamCity shines in this department with excellent secrets-management. 3. Every part of the build chain shall consume and produce artifacts. If it creates nothing, it likely shouldn't be its own build. This way if any issue shows up with any environment or version, all developer has to do it is grab appropriate artifacts to reproduce the issue locally. 4. Deployment builds should be directly tied to specific Git branches/tags. This enables much easier tracking of what caused an issue, including automated identifying and tagging the author (nothing like automated regression testing!).
Speaking of deployments, I generally try to keep it simple but also with a close eye on the wallet. Because of that, I am more than happy with AWS or another cloud provider, but also constantly peeking at the loads and do we get the value of what we are paying for. Often enough the pattern of use is not constantly erratic, but rather has a firm baseline which could be migrated away from the cloud and into bare metal boxes. That is another part where this approach strongly triumphs over the common Docker and CircleCI setup, where you are very much tied in to use cloud providers and getting out is expensive. Here to embrace bare-metal hosting all you need is a help of some container-based self-hosting software, my personal preference is with Proxmox and LXC. Following that all you must write are ansible scripts to manage hardware of Proxmox, similar way as you do for Amazon EC2 (ansible supports both greatly) and you are good to go. One does not exclude another, quite the opposite, as they can live in great synergy and cut your costs dramatically (the heavier your base load, the bigger the savings) while providing production-grade resiliency.
I have got a small radio service running on Node.js. Front end is written with React and packed with Webpack . I use Docker for my #DeploymentWorkflow along with Docker Swarm and GitLab CI on a single Google Compute Engine instance, which is also a runner itself. Pretty unscalable decision but it works great for tiny projects. The project is available on https://ch1ller.com
I've been recently getting really into home automation- you know, making my house Smart™, which basically means half the time my lights don't turn on and the other half of the time apparently my kitchen faucet needs a static IP address.
But it's been a blast! It's a fun way to write code for yourself, outside of work, to have an impact in the real world. It's a nice way of falling in love with a different side of programming again.
I've used Apple's HomeKit for awhile, since we're pretty all-in in Apple devices at home, but the rough edges have been grating at me more and more. HomeKit is so opaque- you can't see what's wrong, why a device is unresponsive, and most importantly: the compatibility isn't there. HomeKit has a limited selection of — more expensive — accessories, and as you go beyond just simple LED lights, you want a bit more power. Also, we're programmers, dammit, gimme all the things.
Anyway, I've switched to Home Assistant the last few months, and I'm kicking myself I didn't make the switch earlier. As a programmer, it's great: you get the most capability than pretty much any other smart home platform (integrations have been written for most devices and technologies out there today), it's easier to debug, and when you want to go bigger than just simple lights on/off, HA has some really powerful stuff behind it.
I use Home Assistant in conjunction with Docker and Docker Compose; since the config is extracted out, upgrades are usually as easy as a pull of the latest version. I've just started digging into writing integrations for a lesser-used device that I have at home, and HA makes it pretty straightforward to just magically add it to the home network.
It plays well with others, too- we require a VPN connection in to the home network to access our Home Assistant install, and HA has a few tricks to help with that (ignoring the VPN route if you're on a local network, etc). Nice client support for iOS and Android, too.
Anyway, big fan of Home Assistant if you want to go beyond simple home automations and setup. Wish I would have done it a lot earlier. Also, big fan of jumping into all this if you have the time and interest to do so- it's been tickling a different part of my code brain than I've had access to in awhile, and that's been fun in and of itself.
To simplify development and deployment, we decided to use Docker to build our application images, Docker Compose to orchestrate our production containers, and Traefik to bind everything together.
Docker is a great tool since it allows us to make our backend app platform-agnostic. This allows us to migrate our infrastructure from one platform to another without much effort.
Docker Compose lets us define our services and how they connect to each other easily. The ability to have an outline of our services and have our containers managed automatically greatly benefits us and removes lots of manual effort on our developers' part.
While we initially used Nginx to route our traffic, we were tired of having to manually set up all of our configuration. So we decided to move to Traefik so that our containers are automatically routed and load-balanced, without any additional configuration. If we do need additional configuration, we are able to easily add the configuration in our Docker Compose files, rather than in some weird config file in /etc/
Heroku was a decent choice to start a business, but at some point our platform was too big, too complex & too heterogenic, so Heroku started to be a constraint, not a benefit. First, we've started containerizing our apps with Docker to eliminate "works in my machine" syndrome & uniformize the environment setup. The first orchestration was composed with Docker Compose , but at some point it made sense to move it to Kubernetes. Fortunately, we've made a very good technical decision when starting our work with containers - all the container configuration & provisions HAD (since the beginning) to be done in code (Infrastructure as Code) - we've used Terraform & Ansible for that (correspondingly). This general trend of containerisation was accompanied by another, parallel & equally big project: migrating environments from Heroku to AWS: using Amazon EC2 , Amazon EKS, Amazon S3 & Amazon RDS.
Recently I have been working on an open source stack to help people consolidate their personal health data in a single database so that AI and analytics apps can be run against it to find personalized treatments. We chose to go with a #containerized approach leveraging Docker #containers with a local development environment setup with Docker Compose and nginx for container routing. For the production environment we chose to pull code from GitHub and build/push images using Jenkins and using Kubernetes to deploy to Amazon EC2.
We also implemented a dashboard app to handle user authentication/authorization, as well as a custom SSO server that runs on Heroku which allows experts to easily visit more than one instance without having to login repeatedly. The #Backend was implemented using my favorite #Stack which consists of FeathersJS on top of Node.js and ExpressJS with PostgreSQL as the main database. The #Frontend was implemented using React, Redux.js, Semantic UI React and the FeathersJS client. Though testing was light on this project, we chose to use AVA as well as ESLint to keep the codebase clean and consistent.
I built a project using Quasar Framework with Vue.js, vuex and axios on the frontend and Go, Gin Gonic and PostgreSQL on the backend. Deployment was realized using Docker and Docker Compose. Now I can build the desktop and the mobile app using a single code base on the frontend. UI responsiveness and performance of this stack is amazing.
Docker is the new kid on the block disrupting virtualization nowadays. You're able to save up to 70% of your development cost on AWS (or any other cloud) switching to Docker. For example instead of paying for many small VMs you can spin up a large one with many Docker containers to drastically lower your cost. That alone is only one of the reasons why Docker is the future and it's not even the best feature: isolation, testability, reproducibility, standardization, security, and upgrading / downgrading / application versions to name a few. You can spin up 1000's of Docker containers on an ordinary Laptop, but you would have trouble spinning up 100's of VMs. If you haven't already checked out Docker you're missing out on a huge opportunity to join the movement that will change development/production environments forever
The support for macOS is a fake.
I can't work with docker in macOS because de network and comunications with the container don't works correctly.
Currently experimenting. The idea is to isolate any services where I'm not confident yet in their security/quality. The hope is that if there is an exploit in a given service that an attacker won't be able break out of the docker container and cause damage to my systems.
An example of a service I would isolate in a docker container would be a minecraft browser map application I use. I don't know who wrote it, I don't know who's vetting it, I don't know the source code. I would feel a lot better putting this in a container before I expose it to the internet.
I believe I will follow this process for anything that's not properly maintained (not in an trusted apt-repo or some other sort of confidence)
We are testing out docker at the moment, building images from successful staging builds for all our APIs. Since we operate in a SOA (not quite microservices), developers have a dockerfile that they can run to build the entirety of our api infrastructure on their machines. We use the successful builds from staging to power these instances allowing them to do some more manual integration testing across systems.
Each component of the app was launched in a separate container, so that they wouldn't have to share resources: the front end in one, the back end in another, a third for celery, a fourth for celery-beat, and a fifth for RabbitMQ. Actually, we ended up running four front-end containers and eight back-end, due to load constraints.
Linux containers are so much more lightweight than VMs which is quite important for my limited budget. However, Docker has much more support and tooling for it unlike LXC, hence why I use it. rkt is interesting, although I will probably stick with Docker due to being more widespread.
We are running primarily as a micro-services platform and Docker lets us iterate on these smaller units consistently from dev to staging to production. It is also integral to our continuous deployment system for rolling out or rolling back new features.
Since our production deployment makes use of the Convox platform, we use this to describe the containers to be deployed via Convox to AWS ECS.
We also use this for our local dev environment (previously used vagrant with chef).
Aside from our Minecraft-infrastructure, we compose it with ... Docker Compose! (kinda obious, eh .. ?) This includes for example the web-services, aswell as the monitoring and mail-infrastructure.
Docker Compose is just another part of my "infrastructure as code" initiative and allows me to build isolated pieces of systems with their own volumes and networks.
Our application will consist of several containers each communicating with each other. Using docker-compose, we can orchestrate several containers at once.